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Pirates to spice up Mount Si Festival

Avast, ye North Bend lubbers! The Seattle Seafair Pirates have set a course for the Festival at Mount Si parade.

For the first time in decades, the villainous volunteer organization will be part of the grand parade, 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 8 in downtown North Bend. The pirates were invited by North Bend City Administrator Duncan Wilson, the former commodore of the Seafair Boat Club and the pit announcer at the Seafair hydroplane races, to help the city mark its centennial celebration.

"Given the fact that the pirates hadn't been out here for years and years, I wanted them to come out and raise some heck in and about town," Wilson said. "They thought it was a great idea to be involved.

The pirates will board a vintage 1965 fire truck for the parade, then lay anchor at the Si View Park festival grounds.

"If I was a betting man, I'd say they will be heading somewhere near the beer garden," Wilson said. "I'm sure there will be some general terrorizing of small children and residents."

The Seafair Pirates have been haunting the coves of Puget Sound since 1949, when the group was founded by members of the Ale and Quail Society, 'terrorizing' children and generally raising a ruckus.

On its philanthropic side, the group visits hospitals and children's homes, and donates food and toys to families in need during its Holiday Treasure Chest drive. Last year, the drive delivered more than 12,000 toys and 12 tons of food to families and charities.

"They have a soft underbelly of appreciation for kids," Wilson admitted.

The pirates also act as an ambassador for the region, representing Seattle as far as Taiwan and the Caribbean.

"They're not for everybody," Wilson said. "But you need to have a little bit of that naughty behavior in your community to have full and complete representation.

"It's a party, after all," he added. "What's a party without a bunch of guys with eyepatches?"

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